As Cabinet Secretary for Finance, I am always seeking opportunities to make Scotland a better place to do business.
That is why when the Report of the Barclay Review of Non-Domestic Rates was published, I not only responded quickly but also built on some of the recommendations to create a competitive advantage for Scottish ratepayers.I believe those measures along with others in the Budget strike the right balance between offering a competitive and sustainable taxation environment while delivering sufficient resources to fund the public service upon which we all rely.
On 1 April this year I introduced a number of measures to underpin that competitive advantage.The growth accelerator and 100% relief for new build properties until first occupied will support speculative development and encourage improvements to our building stock. And our new targeted nursery relief will support a sector that is vital to ensuring an inclusive workforce. These measures are unique in the UK and apply equally to the public, private and third sectors.
I am confident that these measures will not only attract new investment into Scotland, but also incentivise new developments and support employment.
Rates reform is a multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary piece of work, and to inform the implementation of the Barclay Review recommendations, I have convened an Implementation Advisory Group. I wish to thank the organisations represented on that Group for their work informing the drafting of this paper and their on-going work in progressing other non-legislative reforms.
Several of the Barclay recommendations require primary legislation and it is my intention to introduce a Bill during the current term of Parliament.
While the strategic direction of the reforms has been set by the Barclay Review, this consultation document seeks views on the specific details of how that legislation will work in a number of areas.This, along with the continued work of the Implementation Advisory Group and the targeted stakeholder engagement I plan to take forward over the Summer, will ensure the legislation I intend to bring forward in early 2019 not only delivers the recommendations of the Barclay Review swiftly but also efficiently and effectively.
No final decisions have yet been taken on the legislation ahead of the consultation or the final report of the Implementation Advisory Group and I would encourage all stakeholders to engage fully with this consultation process and I look forward to hearing your views.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution